Why is it when some white people refers to a black person as "practically white" they think it's a compliment?
This phrase has been uttered to me several times by either well meaning white friends or in some instances white strangers that think they and I are in the middle of a bonding moment.
Once they see the look on my face, I'm confident that all thoughts of bonding are out of the window.
I honestly believe that mainstream white America have been taught, whether actively or through societal cues, to fear black people. Therefore if you're a black person who defies this negative image, some white people equate that with "being white."
And "being white" or "practically white" is a dog whistle for you're safe. You're one of the "good ones."
You're not like those scary, dangerous, violent black people that we see on tv.
Because in our modern American society, blackness equals bad.
Spare me the laments of crime statistics, gangsta rap and unruly flash mob teens. Those are indisputable facts.
What angers me is that all black people are swept up in those negative images. So much so, that when some well meaning white person actually gets to know you and discover that you aren't some caricature, the mantle of whiteness is bestowed upon you like an honorary knighthood.
Well I've got news for you----I know I'm black. Do not call me "practically white."
Not only do I know I'm black but I'm quite proud of that fact.
Just because I enjoy activities that you may not see great numbers of black people participate in doesn't make me white.
Just because I don't "sound black" to you doesn't make me white.
Just because you may not be scared of me doesn't make me white.
Moreover, I'm offended that someone who oft times has the thinnest of knowledge of black history and black culture; derives their information on black people through the news and rap videos; who has few if any meaningful relationships with a black person, has the nerve to judge my blackness.
That goes double for you knuckleheads that are black and think that blackness is defined by some ridiculous set of "no snitching" codes and finding yet another way to reaffirm these worn out stereotypes.
Holding down a corner does not make you black.
Terrorizing your neighborhood does not make you black.
Having your pants hanging off your ass does not make you black and you look absolutely stupid to boot.
You can't judge my blackness either.
But I'm sure they have the app downloaded on their smart phone for World Star Hip Hop.
I accept that as black people in this country we share certain commonalities and cultural experiences, but that alone cannot and is not the sole arbiter of blackness.
While Chris Rock makes a satirical send up of the President, I'm fairly certain it's simply to draw a parallel to what unites 50 year old, married rich guys.
In my opinion, to be black in this country is to be scrutinized and judged based on the actions of millions of other people. To be black is to be denied an individual identity.
I reject that notion just like I reject all of this foolishness.
So to clarity I'll simply repeat what's on my Twitter mantra: South sider by choice. Not easily defined. I like many different things and people.